AB 1885 to Legalize Marijuana for Pets in California

24 hours after 4/20, the “high”ly famous cannabis holiday, a California Senate subcommittee passed a plan to legalize cannabis for pets where members of the Assembly Business Professions Committee unanimously supported the bill, AB 1885, by a vote of 19-0. As usual, this plan has come far later than we would have liked in the cannabis industry and it still has to pass through the committee to be successful. However, we are hopeful that it will – our pets deserve access to the healing properties of cannabis just as we do.

About AB 1885

Members of the Assembly Business Professions Committee unanimously endorsed AB 1885, which would allow cannabis for pets in California should it be successful. Following the decision, Assemblymember Ash Kalra, the bill’s sponsor, expressed gratitude to his committee colleagues.

AB 1885 would ensure that veterinarians can use their expert judgment to recommend regulated, therapeutic cannabis products for the pets in their care, according to Kalra. With increasing evidence supporting the beneficial role of cannabis for animal use, pet owners need the best information about safe and responsible use.

What this means is that should the bill be successful, it would allow Californian licensed veterinarians to prescribe the use of cannabis on an animal patient for medicinal or health supplements purposes under AB 1885.

According to a summary of the legislation, the state Veterinary Medical Board must “develop standards for veterinarians to follow in advising the use of cannabis-derived products on an animal within the veterinarian-client-patient relationship.” Additionally, the bill authorizes licensed cannabis dispensaries to sell cannabis products intended for use on animals as long as they follow state regulations and appropriate manufacturing, packaging, and labeling standards.

In other words, if AB 1885 succeeds, veterinarians will be able to offer medical marijuana products such as tinctures, topicals, and chews for pet owners to administer to their pets. All animal cannabis products will be assessed for safety, potency, and pesticides under the bill, giving pet owners more trust in cannabis use.

Dr. Tim Shu, a veterinarian and the founder and CEO of the cannabis-based therapy company VETCBD, expressed that cannabis can help animals live longer and healthier lives. “Pets and their owners deserve access to items that can help them live better lives, and veterinarians should be able to advise them on these products. If we are to embark on a path of growth, we must shed the shroud of prohibition and embrace science,” he continued in his announcement on the legislation.

History Of Pet Cannabis Legislation 

An earlier bill, AB 2215, gave veterinarians the authority to discuss the use of cannabis on an animal for medical purposes with pet owners in 2018. This previous bill failed to specify when a discussion could become a recommendation, however, and this could lead to disciplinary action on the side of the vet. This causes many veterinarians to err on the side of caution and avoid discussing cannabis use in pets altogether, which makes the bill slightly redundant and does not truly allow it to benefit our pets.

Elizabeth Oreck of the Best Friends Animal Society, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that runs the country’s largest animal rescue sanctuary and two pet lifesaving centers, put it eloquently: “California’s legal language surrounding how veterinarians can discuss cannabis is unclear, and this leads to them deciding not to discuss it at all.” While studies demonstrate that animals can benefit from cannabis in a variety of ways, many concerned pet owners are unable to obtain competent counsel on these advantages.

Another benefit of AB 1885, should it pass through the committee, is that it would allow state-licensed veterinarians to suggest the use of cannabis on animals in their practice without the risk of being disciplined by the state Veterinary Medical Board. “Giving veterinarians the legal freedom to help pet owners identify excellent goods and give dosing advice is vital to protecting the safety and health of our animal patients.”

AB 1885 will now be considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The law requires a two-thirds majority in both houses of the state legislature to pass since it changes the ballot initiative that legalized marijuana in California, and we hope that it manages to do so. It is not in the best interests of the cannabis industry or our pets for this bill to be delayed any further in its success.

Enjoyed that first hit? Come chill with us every week at the Friday Sesh for a freshly packed bowl of the week’s best cannabis news!

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